Friday, November 22, 2013

Google Online Courses & Gamification Wrapped Up into One

Recently, Google announced several online courses they would be offering as part of Google in Education. Last year, they released their searching courses - power searching and advanced power searching - which were hits and highly informative.

In looking at these courses, our district is seeking to award teachers PD credit for them. And, why wouldn't they, right? However, it raises great questions in the era of online courses and gamified PD. What constitutes a valid online course that is not from a university? Do they even have to be from universities (I'd say no)? And, does it warrant a badging system?

This year, we organized a district-run Google Summit as we have the largest group of Google Certified Trainers in one organization in the state of Texas. We decided to run it with the Ninja theme off of Jeff Utech's Google Ninja program, a program that is based around receiving badges and credit for advancing to new levels. When sharing this concept with teachers, the concept was foreign to many.

In returning to the Google Online courses - do we award credit and better yet, do we award badges for these levels? Is there a difference between awarding student badges and teacher badges? I started awarding badges to teachers at my elementary campus last year and many enjoyed it. However, I had to post the badges on their Sites and walls for them. It was not intrinsic.

So, do badges motivate educators to push further in their learning? Or are they a way for us to track their learning and categorize levels?

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